Purple loosestrife forms dense, homogeneous stands blocking out native plants and reducing habitat for waterfowl. Native plants that were once the home or food source of native wildlife are destroyed, causing wildlife populations to decrease or to move to uninfested areas. It alters the structure and function of wetlands, clogs waterways and irrigation system, affects rice and other agricultural production, and reduces livestock forage quality. This highly invasive plant was likely introduced when its seeds were included in soil used as ballast in European sailing ships and discarded in North America. Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.)Loosestrife Family (Lythraceae)Status: Common and invasive in Connecticut.. Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is native to Europe. Purple Loosestrife Purple loosestrife is an erect perennial herb standing 3 to 10 feet tall. Description: Purple loosestrife is a non-native herbaceous perennial with a stiff, four-sided stem and snowy spikes of numerous magenta flowers.Individual flowers have five to seven petals, and are attached close to the stem. The following simple guidelines will ensure that your efforts to control the spread of purple loosestrife are effective. Purple loosestrife forms dense stands that outcompete native plants for space, light, and pollinators, and provide poor habitat for waterfowl. Its consequently malevolent appearance on the internet is a shame. Purple loosestrife is native to Europe and Asia. If Purple Loosestrife is mixed with desirable plants, then returning to help distribute seeds from desirable species may help. were developed in the mid-1900s for use as ornamentals. Initially, these were thought to be sterile, and therefore safe for horticultural use. Background. Purple loosestrife is an erect perennial herb that usually grows two to six feet tall. Google it and you'll see what I mean. Recently, under greenhouse conditions, experimental crosses between several cultivars and wild purple loosestrife and the native L. Its leaves are sessile, opposite or whorled, lanceolate (2-10 cm long and 5-15 mm wide), with rounded to cordate bases. The Arrival. Purple loosestrife prefers wet soils or standing water. Loosestrife plants are typically found in poorly drained soils of road right-of-ways and trails, drainage ditches, culverts, lake shores, stream banks, and a variety of wetland habitats. Controlling the spread of purple loosestrife is crucial to protecting vital fish, wildlife and native plant habitat. Furthermore, the stems of purple loosestrife are very unwelcoming to waterfowl and as a result waterfowl do not frequent areas with purple loosestrife. Wetlands should be seeded with native and desirable plant species. The flowers of native loosestrife are also more widely spaced than those of purple loosestrife. Impacts: Purple loosestrife grows vigorously in wet areas and can become dense, crowding out other vegetation. It was first introduced into North America in the early 1800s for ornamental and medicinal purposes. A mature plant can produce up to 2.5 million tiny seeds, which can spread by water and and birds. Purple loosestrife should be accurately identified before attempting any control measures. Habitat. It's the North American equivalent of Himalayan Balsam in Britain. Otherwise a native seed mix of 5-9 species that are also approriate for the site should be developed and applied using best standards and practices. Manayi A, Khanavi M, Saeidnia S, et al. If identification of the species is in doubt, the plant's identity should be confirmed by a knowledgeable individual and/or by consulting appropriate books. Habitat: Purple loosestrife grows in wet areas such as wetlands, streamsides, and marshes. However, it can also reproduce by stem fragments. 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